1 DOING THINGS (U) the process of doing in order to deal with a problem or difficult situation: The union is urging strike action. | We need more action, and less talk! | take action: The police took firm action to deal with the riots. | go/spring into action (=immediately begin doing something with a lot of energy): As soon as the SOS call was received, the rescue services sprang into action. | course of action (=a series of actions done in order to deal with something): One possible course of action would be to raise taxes on alcohol and tobacco.
2 SOMETHING DONE (C) something that someone does: The child could not be held responsible for his actions. | His prompt action probably saved my life.
3 in action if you see someone or something in action you see them doing the job or activity that they are trained or designed to do: exciting photos of ski jumpers in action | I'd like see the new computer system in action.
4 put/call/bring sth into action to begin to use a plan or idea that you have, and to make it work
5 be out of action if something or someone is out of action, they are broken or injured, so that they cannot move or work: My car's out of action at the moment, so I have to go by bus. | put sth/sb out of action: The torn ligaments in his knee put him out of action for the rest of the season.
6 COURT (C) the process of taking a case or a claim against someone to a court of law: They began an action to repossess the house. | legal/civil/libel etc action: The European Commission is threatening legal action against Britain and France to protect the environment. | bring an action (against): They will bring an action against him if he doesn't repay the loan.
7 FIGHTING (C, U) fighting or a battle during a war: When the action ended there were terrible losses on both sides. | in/into action: The navy was sent into action. | killed/wounded/missing in action: Their son was reported missing in action.
8 EXCITING EVENTS informal exciting and important things that are happening: I was looking for some action in this hick town. | where (all) the action is: This is the design studio - where the action is.
9 STORY the action the things that happen in a play or book: The action of `Hamlet' takes place in Denmark.
10 BODY MOVEMENT (C, U) a movement of the body, especially a particular type of movement: the action of the heart | the horse's trotting action
11 MACHINERY (singular) the movement of the parts of a clock, gun, piano etc: The action of this piano is rather stiff.
12 EFFECT (U) the way in which something such as a chemical or process has an effect on something else: The rock had been worn away by the action of the falling water.
13 action group/committee/project etc a group formed to do something specific, especially to change a social or political situation: the Child Poverty Action Group
14 a piece of the action informal a share of something, such as profits, a business etc
15 actions speak louder than words used to say that you are judged by what you do, rather than by what you say you will do
16 FILMS action! used by film directors to tell the actors and other film workers to being filming

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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